If you feel standard Push-Ups are too easy, perhaps it’s time for some variation. Hindu Push-Ups are a fantastic option for athletes of all ability levels to obtain the muscular pectorals that are necessary for strength, power and effective posture, movement and stability—all things athletes should be concerned with.
Hindu Push-Ups can be superior to Bench Presses for a few reasons:
By being able to manipulate the position of your body, you can create more tension in your chest, a key component for building muscle.
Bodyweight exercises are excellent for improving the mind-muscle connection, so you can create greater tension within the target muscle.
Because no external weight is involved, most athletes aren’t tempted to do more than they are capable of just to appear stronger or to stroke their ego.
The best way to include Hindu Push-Ups in your programming is to use them as an assistance exercise. Assistance exercises can be used for injury prevention and/or muscle hypertrophy, making them more suited to moderate to high reps (6-12-plus).
Although you can manipulate your body to make this movement more difficult, it isn’t a great option for maximal strength development. Instead, you should perform Hindu Push-Ups after you’ve done a maximal strength-focused movement like the Barbell or Dumbbell Bench Press.
To start, perform 3 sets of 6-12 repetitions after you finish your maximal strength exercises for the day. For example, start your workout with Barbell Bench Press for 3 sets of 3 reps. After you finish all sets and reps of the Bench Press, do Hindu Push-Ups for 3 sets of 10 reps.
Programming Push-Ups as a finisher (the last sets of the training session) also works extremely well on upper- and full-body days.
How to Perform Hindu Push-Ups
1) Assume a push-up position with your feet hip-width apart. Keep your core tight and back flat.
2) Push your torso backward and raise your butt up to move into a pike position so your body forms an inverted V.
3) Bend your elbows to lower your upper chest to the ground while keeping your butt up. As you lower your chest, drop your butt down so your body is in a straight line when you’re closest to the ground.
4) Straighten your arms to push your chest up, but allow for a slight arch in your back similar to the yoga Upward Dog position.
5) From this position, push your torso backward and repeat the sequence beginning at Step 2.
Push-ups have got to be my all-time favorite upper-body exercise since they are so effective at targeting your chest and shoulders. There are so many variations to this basic exercise, so here’s another one to add to your routine – the Spider-Man push-up. This move helps define your core, especially your obliques, the muscles on the sides of your torso that cinch your waist and the suit is totally optional.
Come into plank position (top of a push-up), with your hands under your shoulders, and your body in one straight line. If you can’t do a push-up this way, just lower your knees to the floor (as shown in the second half of the video).
As you bend your elbows out to the side and lower your torso toward the floor, bend your left knee and touch it to your left elbow.
As you straighten your arms, come back to plank position with your left foot next to your right. Now lower your torso down and touch your right knee to your right elbow. Then return back to plank position.
This counts as one repetition. Complete as many as you can, then stretch out your lower back and shoulders in Child’s Pose for five breaths and then stretch out your pecs by doing Seated Heart Opener for five breaths.
These creative twists promise bigger calorie burn, a more stable core and a stronger upper body.
There’s a reason push-ups have stood the test of time—they work. “It’s a multi-joint exercise that targets your pecs, triceps, deltoids, abdominals and all of your key muscle stabilizers,” says Lucas Varella, a Tier 4 coach in Century City, California. “Plus, it doesn’t require any equipment, so you can perform push-ups anytime, anywhere.” The only catch is that in order to see results (and avoid injury), you have to do them correctly: Keep your head, neck and spine in a neutral position, your abs engaged and your lower body muscles (hips, glutes, etc.) activated throughout the movement.
How it works: Perform one traditional push-up using good form. Work your way up to 3 sets of 8. Once you can complete those without faltering, you’re ready to move on to these variations. “Mixing up your hand positioning and body movements will challenge different muscles, burn more calories and test your endurance,” says Varella. Tackle one of these exercises at a time. Do 2 or 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps, using proper form, and then move on to the next one.
Start in push-up position (hands under shoulders, back flat, legs extended behind you, toes tucked under). Keeping upper body engaged, lower right forearm to floor, placing elbow under shoulder, then lower left forearm to floor. Hold plank for one count, and then rise back up to start, placing one palm on floor at a time.
2. Mountain Climber Push-Up
Start in push-up position, and bring right knee in toward chest; extend leg behind you, and then immediately bring left knee in toward chest; extend leg behind you. Perform a push-up, keeping elbows by sides. Repeat.
3. Bird-Dog Push-Up
Perform a push-up, keeping elbows by sides. Extend right arm in front of you and left leg behind you; hold balance for one count, then lower. Do another push-up, and repeat balance on other side (left arm; right leg). Repeat.
4. Push-Up Row
Start in push-up position, gripping a kettlebell* in each hand, with palms facing each other. (*Note: The bigger the kettlebell, the more stable you will feel.) Bend elbows behind you, keeping them close to sides, lowering chest toward floor, and then press back up. Once up, pull left elbow behind you, bringing kettlebell up to ribs; lower. Repeat push-up and perform row on the opposite (right) side. Continue alternating sides with each rep.
5. Uneven Push-Up
Start in push-up position (hands under shoulders, abs engaged, back flat, legs extended behind you), with left hand on top of the ball part of a horizontal kettlebell. Without rotating your torso, keeping hips and shoulders square, bend elbows behind you, lowering chest toward floor, and press back up. Do 8 reps; switch sides and repeat.
6. Side Plank Push-Up
Start in push-up position (hands under shoulders, abs engaged, back flat, legs extended behind you). Lower chest toward floor, and then as you press back up, rotate torso to left and keep gaze on your left hand, as you lift your left arm and leg toward the ceiling, forming an X with your body. Hold for one count; rotate back to high plank and repeat.
7. Sliding Push-Up
Start in push-up position (hands under shoulders, abs engaged, back flat, legs extended behind you), with a towel under your left palm. Slowly slide left hand forward, as you bend right elbow behind you and lower chest toward floor. Without falling flat, extend left arm as far forward as possible, and then slowly slide back up to start, keeping arm straight throughout. Do 8 reps; switch sides and repeat.
8. Stability Ball Scissors
Start in push-up position (hands under shoulders, abs engaged, legs extended and together behind you), with tops of feet centered on a stability ball. Bring right knee in toward chest, then rotate torso slightly as you extend leg out, parallel to the ground. Perform a push-up, keeping body squared up as much as possible. Reverse motion back to start. Repeat on left side. Continue alternating sides with each rep.
9. Traveling Push-Up
Start in push-up position (hands under shoulders, abs engaged, legs extended behind you). Perform a push-up, and then step right leg under and to the left of your left leg and right hand under and to the side of left hand. Step left hand and leg over the right, moving back into push-up position. Perform a push-up, and then reverse motion (left hand/leg steps over right; right goes under left) back to the right (ending where you started.
10. Pike Push-Up
Start in a pike position (upside down “V”), with palms under shoulders, toes centered on top of a stability ball, legs together, hips raised toward ceiling. Keeping lower body still, bend elbows behind you, slowly lowering head toward floor; carefully press back up to start.